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between them; the stranger betrays a knowledge of her mysterious birth, and appoints a time to confer with her, and tell his story, which is nearly as follows: He is the descendant of a decayed but illustrious Irish family; lived and was nursed in the cottage of his affectionate foster-father Dermid; was adopted by a gentleman in the neighbourhood, who took a fancy to his ruddy cheeks and golden locks; was brought to his splendid mansion, but found more delight among his humble friends at the hut; an attachment took place between him and the daughter of Lord Mountrath who lived near, and, contrary to the consent of her father and his patron, a marriage took place; the hatred of the offended great ones pursued the unhappy pair; Mr. Winterfield, the stranger's patron, refused to give up certain deeds that would establish the rights of his young protegé to a large property; thus distressed, the bridegroom is obliged to carry his wife to the ruinous castle of his ancestors; his fosterfather Dermid was accused by Mr. Winterfield of having sheltered rebels; Dermid flew to his foster-son for protection from the posse of armed men that pursued him; the stranger shot one of them; was arrested and escaped; returned to his dwelling, and found his wife dead; his senses became disordered by affliction; he was restored to health by the attention of his foster sister Caty; and was obliged to take refuge in America, where, at the expiration of five years, he was joined by Caty and her husband. Here the stranger becomes deeply affected at the thought of being an exile from his country; and, after having described in luxurious language, the beauties of his place of residence in America, he affectionately alludes to the land of his pativity :
"Could the eye or ear alone have gladdened the heart, mine would often have glowed with rapture; but, unconnected as were the stupendous scenes around me with aught that was ever interesting to my feelings, their contemplation often only filled me with sadness and despair; if ever they had power to charm or delight me, it was only when my anguished heart was relieved by devotion; then, in these moments of melancholy composure, of renewed resignation and holy hope, I could, with something like a sensation of pleasure, listen to the liquid melody of the mocking-bird, inhale the balsamic sweetness of the shrubs, and gaze with admiration on the dread magnificence of woods coeval with creation, &c.-But, to all this, how often was I lost in the ideal contemplation of far different scenes bleak and dismal when compared with these, but still interesting to every feeling of the heart, from the recollections connected with them. Oh how fondly, how continually did my thoughts revert to them! the dark brown heath-the mountains shrouded in mist-the narrow vales with their cold blue streams winding along them-the rifted rocks, lashed by the waves destined to waft me to another shore."
There are few, and those must be indeed unfeeling, whose hearts, when the tumults of fashion, commerce, war, or politics, have ceased for a moment to agitate them, will not return with pleasure to the scenes loved in youth; but in one particular connected with the amor patria, the Irish peasant displays a
singular sensibility-the hope of dying in sight of his native mountains. When this steals upon his mind, it calls him from the madness of his passions; in an instant, the malice of party, the oppression of his landlord, the dispersion of his family, his disgraceful banishment vanish from his thoughts; and then the rude grave of his fathers, marked by a heap of rude stones and rubbish, and perhaps by the remains of a small wooden cross, seems to him the most honourable, the most desirable spot on the face of the earth.
The unhappy exile reveals his having come from America, at the entreaty of Fidelia's foster-mother, in order to prevail on her to accompany her back, and put herself once more under her protection. Mr. Stovendale at this moment enters; the exile with difficulty escapes; and Fidelia is still left in uncertainty with regard to her birth. Mr. Stovendale sees the window (through which the stranger escaped) open, and suspects that Grandison, his discarded son, has been there. In his resentment he desires Fidelia to prepare to leave the castle for London.
On her arrival in London, Fidelia meets the exile, who renews his solicitations for her going to America, but does not reveal her birth. After some unpleasant adventures, she finds herself once more under the protection of the Bryerlys, where the author leaves her, and makes Albina Dundonald the heroine. This lady, in consequence of the ill treatment of Mr. Bryerly, goes to the seat of the Earl of Fitzossory in Ireland. Here the story turns on the love of Albina towards a young officer, son of Fidelia's friend Mr. Stovendale. A party of fashionables is introduced at Lord Fitzossory's, and is well and spiritedly described. An argument starts among them one evening, which gives rise to the following observation on the practice of the Irish of traducing their own country.
"Aye, 'tis by conduct of this kind-'tis by either inveighing against, or turning into ridicule, every thing belonging to Ireland, that she has gradually lost her proud preeminence amongst nations. When strangers hear those who have been nurtured in her bosom, and battened on her soil, abusing her, 'tis natural for them to conclude, she is every thing that is odious and despicable. But the bad policy of this will yet be perceived, when, deserted, and of course impoverished, she is unable, through such means, to furnish her unnatural children with the supplies their vanity and extravagance need elsewhere."
The following passage is a relentless, but a just description of the strange ideas of precedence entertained in many of the country towns of Ireland.
"By the time the party reached the palace (the bishop's of the town,) it was crowd. ed, all the little-great folks of D- being invited on the occasion; the families of consequence in the neighbourhood being too few, even with the addition of the mili
tary, to form a full assembly, and the bishop, besides, not choosing to be accused of invidious distinctions; but, as little as the ladies of his family, did he like associating with the gentry of D, not from the actual want of any real consequence amongst them, but the pert arrogance and stupid illiberality by which they were distinguished. Without having one person amongst them entitled to precedence, they were eternally talking of the first people, and, in their stupid way, drawing distinctions that were absolutely ludicrous. Accustomed to this, the respective parties were not so much struck by the circumstance as strangers, who were continually hearing, when they came, of first people, and first people naturally inquired for these people; and could not help laughing when they heard of the wife of an attorney looking down upon the wife of an attorney, because in not quite so handsome a house as herself; and the lady of the son of a tailor excluding from her parties the family of a tailor, because the father was still in business.”
Distinctions of this nature must always exist in a country where the lingering pride of chivalrous times has not been entirely extinguished by the prevalence of commercial pursuits. Amongst a considerable portion of the gentry of Ireland, a jealousy is felt towards one who has at any period of his life been engaged in trafficonay, if the stigma can be traced to one of his ancestors, he does not know the moment when his shade will arise to push him from his stool in society. There are innumerable instances of families preferring to starve in unsullied grandeur, rather than engage in any meritorious and honourable exertion. What a check to the march of national improvement, when at every road's turn, industry is liable to be attacked in full career, by one of those idle troublesome Quixotes!
The story turns to Fidelia, who discovers, through the loquacity of an Irish house-keeper of Lady Oldbury's, at whose mansion she (Fidelia) has been on a visit, that the exile is her father. In her anxiety to find her new discovered parent, she goes to seek Lord Castle Dermot, for at his house the exile (Glenmore) had taken shelter. She finds the young libertine among a party of fashionables; he pretends knowledge of her father, and carries her off, as if to him. They stop at a solitary inn in the wilds of Westmoreland, where, to the confusion of the treacherous Castle Dermot, Glenmore himself appears. Fidelia flies with her father; their retreat is discovered, and an attempt is made to arrest Glenmore, who escapes. After many perilous wanderings, the unfortunate outlaw discovers the man whom he supposed he had murdered, and that Peckham, in hopes of winning Fidelia's hand, kept secret the circumstance of his being alive. Glenmore is, in consequence of this discovery, restored to his birthrights, and to the fortune to which he was entitled by certain deeds which were delivered him by Lady Oldbury, formerly Mrs. Winterfield. He returns to Ireland with his daughter; they meet Grandison, who leads Fidelia to the altar, and to the end of the story.
Art. V. Demonology; or a History of the Belief in Witchcraft and Demoniacal Wonders, with particular Observations on the Trials of Witches since the times of Innocentius the Eighth. By GEORGE CONRAD HORST, Counsellor of the Church of the Grand Duke of Hesse. Frankf. on the Main, 1818. 2 vols. 8vo.
Few of our readers, we believe, will think this work was called for in the present day; and yet fewer of them, we dare affirm, will hear that it exists, without entertaining a desire to know something of its contents.
Mr. Horst is a clergyman in the village of Lindheim, in the Wetterau, and has been appointed by the Grand Duke of Hesse counsellor of the church. The parsonage house is within a quarter of a mile of the Witch Castle, (Hexen-Thurm,) so renowned in that country. The continual sight of this dreary building, it seems, has inspired the reverend counsellor with a desire to collect from the judicial acts of former times, all that concerned the "Hexenhammer," or witch trials, with the view of shewing to the present enlightened century the folly and cruelty of pastrages, and to guard mankind against the return of injustice in form of law, which caused so many innocent unhappy creatures to be brought to an ignominious death. In the accomplishment of this undertaking, he has been led to transcribe and arrange such a mass of wonderful matter, as must have singularly qualified him for the office of ghostly adviser to his rustic congregation; and we ourselves claim no small meed of gratitude from our readers, for the pains we have taken to explore it, with a view to their amusement and edification.
Our author commences very characteristically: "Do I dream? Dare I trust my senses, or are sense and reason gone astray? Is what I hear, see, or read, truth or nonsense, in earnest or in joke? Do I live in reality, where the laws of nature reign, or where demons and spirits perform their gambols?" Such interrogatories we think every one will make, who, like him, has for years studied the history of witchcraft, and the judicial trials of witches; who has read, as facts decided beyond all doubt, of human beings forming connubial union with evil spirits, and, by their agency, performing an immensity of wonders; and who finds theologians, lawyers, and physicians, skilful and ignorant, pious and reprobate, all agreeing in a firm faith in relations which, in our days, would excite nothing but ridicule. Yet, such were the subjects which, for many centuries, formed a large portion of the history of human society.
It is a little strange, however, that, in discussing a most important inquiry which occurs at the very threshold of this work, viz. whe
ther there ever were any human beings, who devoted themselves to witchcraft, who believed themselves initiated in the mysteries of the abyss, or to be in compact with the devil? our author, who promises to examine with all due attention and impartiality, is somewhat unsteady and inconsistent in his opinions. For whilst he shews, that, in a vast variety of instances, the pretenders to su pernatural powers were merely deceivers, who profited by the ignorant wonder and simplicity of their less cunning neighbours; and whilst he occasionally writes on the subject in the style that is suitable to the present day, nevertheless when he speaks of proofs the most convincing and unanswerable brought into court, and of the accused making confession of their infernal connections, and earnestly imploring the forgiveness of heaven, his mind is evidently staggered, he seems to be borne away by a torrent which he cannot resist, or under the influence of a magic spell, which makes him most unlike himself in his tranquil moments. Indeed, to judge of him then, we should say, that if George Conrad Horst, Counsellor of the Church of the Grand Duke of Hesse, had lived but two centuries ago, he would have been an active enemy of Demonology, assisted in the prosecution and condemnation of those wretches whose fate be deplores; and considered himself as serving God by acting a part in scenes, to guard against the recurrence of which he has written these wonderful volumes. A slight and sober analysis of the history is all we shall attempt, lest we run the risk of being infected with his spirit. The earliest conjurors we read of were the magi, a class of men who devoted themselves to the study of the laws of nature, and who, from the wonders which they were able to perform, gained from an ignorant age the reputation of connection with infernal agents. Hence, under the name of magic, was comprehended acquaintance with criminal acts, and secrets mischievous to mankind. Among all nations, the most learned and civilized, as well as the most rude and barbarous, among the Greeks and Romans, as well as the Laplanders and Negroes, and in all ages of the world, from the earliest times down to the present day, we find a belief in demoniacal wonders to have prevailed.
Mr. Pallas gives a striking instance in the case of a person among the Samoids. One of the professor's companions gave the man a black glove, which he put upon his hand; having then looked upon it, he began to tremble and to cry out vehemently, as if insane, asserting that by magic arts his hand had been transformed into a bear's paw. He refused to touch it with his other hand, shook it violently, and was so extremely miserable, that, from compassion, Mr. Pallas and his friends seized him by force, and took off the fatal glove. Our author gives a remarkable instance which occurred to M. Rigo, a member of the Egyp